E-Commerce Automation FAQs

This article will explore five common FAQs about e-commerce and how it can help your business.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
  1. What is e-Commerce automation?
  2. How does e-Commerce automation work?
  3. What are the benefits of automation?
  4. When should you embrace e-Commerce automation for your business?
  5. When should you NOT automate an e-Commerce task or process?
  6. What should you look for when choosing an e-Commerce automation software?
  7. What are some e-Commerce processes that can be automated?
  8. References
Table of contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
  1. What is e-Commerce automation?
  2. How does e-Commerce automation work?
  3. What are the benefits of automation?
  4. When should you embrace e-Commerce automation for your business?
  5. When should you NOT automate an e-Commerce task or process?
  6. What should you look for when choosing an e-Commerce automation software?
  7. What are some e-Commerce processes that can be automated?
  8. References
10 Minutes

Our upcoming app Lido is destined to help you automate your e-Commerce actions. This article will demonstrate why e-Commerce automation matters by answering five FAQs.

What is e-Commerce automation?

e-Commerce automation can be run independently, but is still supervised to ensure it runs well all the time. Image source


To define e-Commerce automation, let us look at what automation is. The popular Merriam-Webster Dictionary define automation as follows:

Automatically controlled operation of an apparatus, process, or system by mechanical or electronic devices that take the place of human labor


e-Commerce automation, therefore, involves automation of e-Commerce processes that are usually done by human labor. The aim of e-Commerce automation is to increase staff productivity, redirect staff to other more meaningful and important tasks, and bring more growth to the business.


How does e-Commerce automation work?

All e-Commerce automation follows three steps, as outlined by OroCommerce Blog


Step 1: A trigger event or an indication that the automation should start.

Step 2: A condition that defines what the automation will do. 

Step 3: The result is an action that performs a function without human intervention.


Several e-Commerce actions can be easily automated as they follow a step-by-step procedure with little deviations. You should identify them and take advantage of automation early on! 


What are the benefits of e-Commerce automation?

The benefits of e-Commerce automation can be summarized by three words: efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. These three benefits will cascade to bring customer satisfaction to your business. We will consider the example of data entry to grasp how these three benefits positively impact your business. 


Efficiency

As everyone likes to point out, time is the most important resource. Several important tasks such as data entry are repetitive, follow a specific procedure, but take a lot of time. These tasks can be easily automated, and automating these processes saves a lot of time as computers can be programmed to do these tasks as fast as possible. 


A typical data entry can take minutes by hand, but a computer can accomplish this task in less than a second. . This means more data can be entered within a short period of time, increasing the efficiency and removing a major bottleneck in processing more orders.


Accuracy

Routine and repetitive tasks often need to be done as quickly as possible to maximize the time and the number of orders processed. Trying to do routine tasks as fast as possible can lead to occasional mistakes that can be hard to trace and will take more time to fix. Automating a task removes the possibility of human error.


In the example of data entry, it takes extra time to check the accuracy of the data being entered into a ledger or a record card. It also takes additional time to revise the entry when an error or two appears. Finally, everyone’s performance drops after working for a few hours, thus increasing the possibility of a mistake. A data automation system can maintain its accuracy even after running for hundreds of hours. 


Productivity

With the implementation of e-Commerce automation, the employees can be reassigned to do more important tasks such as personalized interactions with potential customers and improvements to products and services. This leads to increased productivity, which further drives the growth of a business. 


Customer Satisfaction

Ultimately, fast and prompt service satisfies customers. This can be in the form of prompt responses to initial engagements, fast processing of orders, or customer support. Satisfied customers are often repeat customers, and satisfied customers keep your business afloat. 



When should you embrace e-Commerce automation for your business?

Repetitive, routine, and procedural work can be automated. Image source


While embracing e-Commerce automation as soon as possible is the ideal answer, you might be running a business that may be adequately run by your current staff without resorting to automation. So what are the signs that you should start adopting e-Commerce automation? Tallyfy came up with a seven-item criteria:

  • Your operational team can’t keep up with the sales volume, because the systems you have in place are inefficient
  • Your sales team spends hours getting together and shipping out one order because they have to deal with multiple systems and platforms.
  • Moving information from one system to the other takes up more  than one hour per day per employee.
  • Your inventory updates are more like down-dates. The inventory briefs are slow, full of mistakes, and you find your store running low on stock due to these inefficiencies.
  • Employee and system updates to platforms often lead to lost information or mistakes in crucial data.
  • Your sales team is more concentrated in talking to customers to fix order or shipping mistakes than ever.
  • Customers are unhappy with your merchandise and are returning their orders because of shipping or process inefficiencies.


According to Tallyfy, if four out of seven criteria describe your business, then it’s time to fully automate your e-Commerce!

When should you NOT automate an e-Commerce task or process?

Reminder: not all e-Commerce tasks or processes should be automated! GetMesa recommends that you do not automate process that involve the following:

  • With multiple decision points - Actions that require multiple decision points are major actions that have significant consequences to the business. They are too complicated and nuanced to be reliably automated.


  • Quality control - While it is possible to automate a portion of quality control, it is humans who can ultimately assess the quality of a product or a service, as it is still easier to train ourselves to spot irregularities in the product rather quickly.


  • With low ROI on the automation - This can simply be the case when your e-Commerce business does not meet the criteria for automation we set in the previous section


  • Requires creative thinking - Creative thinking is a human process that cannot be adequately automated. Creative thinking is used in product and service design, planning marketing campaigns, and in data analysis. 

What should you look for when choosing an e-Commerce automation software?

Hubspot offers a good list of features that you should look for when choosing an e-Commerce automation software (annotations from the author of this article): 

  1. User interface 
  1. Simple enough so that most tasks can be executed, as much as possible, with up to two or three clicks
  2. Easy-to-understand so that the user can easily learn most of the basics within a day or two
  3. Organized enough to further minimize human error
  1. Features and native integrations
  1. Should contain most, if not all, of the features that you need
  2. Can easily integrate with existing tools and software that you already have
  3. An API that can be easily used to connect with custom software you may need or even design for your specific needs in the future
  1. Customer support
  1. Diverse ways of contacting customer support, which may include calls, live chat, and email
  2. A quick response depending on the problem
  1. Learning resources
  1. A set of tutorials that can get the users started
  2. Extensive documentation including basic and advanced details about the software
  1. Userbase and reviews
  1. The users are from businesses similar to yours
  2. Positive and glowing user reviews; user reviews that imply they are not impressed at the very least are a red flag that should not be ignored!
  1. Pricing
  1. Affordable base price with most of the features you need
  2. Affordable pricing plan for additional features
  1. Set-up and Onboarding
  1. Assistance in set-up of the software
  2. The set-up can be done remotely (especially with the current pandemic)


What are some e-Commerce processes that can be automated?

It turns out that a lot of e-Commerce processes and actions can be automated! Depending on the article you are reading, the number of suggested tasks and processes that you can automate can vary!  You can start with these four common tasks: 


Rewarding your most engaged and loyal customers

If you utilize data collection software  on your e-Commerce website and social media accounts, you can easily spot the most engaged and loyal customers. You can automatically tag them and offer them perks such as discounts and limited-edition items.


Real-time inventory check

A common problem in running a business is losing sight of the current number of items that remain in the inventory, thus causing either an “overselling” problem in which you sell products that are no longer in stock or ordering too much of an item of which you still have an adequate supply.  A real-time inventory check accurately tallies inventory by recording every order of an item and comparing it with the existing inventory supply. Additionally, it also warns the business (and customers) if the quantity of an item is running low. 


Adding customers to email list

While promotional emails are often seen as clutter, promotional emails that customers  opt into are very much welcome! An automated process of adding these customers to an email list can be set up so that a company can easily send promos to its customers.


Sending abandoned cart emails

According to Statista, at least 2/3 of the online shopping carts are abandoned! If your business reaches a certain size, following up on potential customers with abandoned carts can quickly become overwhelming, way before the amount of orders submitted becomes a challenge to handle. Automated shopping cart abandonment emails will help remove a straightforward but time-consuming task from your staff, freeing them to do more meaningful tasks.

References

Automation | Definition of Automation by Merriam-Webster 

What is Ecommerce Automation? 

Guide to eCommerce Automation, Its Benefits, Strategies & Examples | OroCommerce

The 5 Benefits of E-Commerce Automation 4 comments 

16 Workflow Automation Ideas for Ecommerce (2021)

Complete Guide to E-Commerce Automation [W/ 13 Step-by-Step Ways]

What is eCommerce Automation?

How to Choose the Right Marketing Automation Platform for Your Ecommerce Business [Checklist]

What is Ecommerce Automation? Save Costs and Focus on What Matters 

• Shopping cart abandonment rate by industry 2020 


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SECTIONS
  1. What is e-Commerce automation?
  2. How does e-Commerce automation work?
  3. What are the benefits of automation?
  4. When should you embrace e-Commerce automation for your business?
  5. When should you NOT automate an e-Commerce task or process?
  6. What should you look for when choosing an e-Commerce automation software?
  7. What are some e-Commerce processes that can be automated?
  8. References